Home Sweet Home
A slightly shorter chapter folks, but I figured I'd save the Predacon homecoming for the next chapter. And we still have yet to introduce Miss Calendar or Cordelia to the rest of their respective new teams. Please note that some of the technical details concerning the Axalon are not referenced on the show. I made it up.
The Axalon was an impressive looking ship – at least in Xander’s eyes, this was the first alien vessel he’d ever encountered after all. It was also a haven from the Energon fields of this planet – apparently Energon was what fueled his new body, but for some unknown reason a group of mysterious aliens had seeded this planet with raw Energon crystals.
To such an extent that any prolonged exposure in robot mode result in immediate stasis lock – kind of like forced unconsciousness for a human.
Jawbreaker and Sonar stepped onto the lowered ramp after Cheetor and Rattrap went up – it rose on a hydraulic system bringing them into the central command center of the ship.
A circular design. The vessel had control stations arranged around the entire bridge – with a central table for meetings and various other uses.
“This is great,” Jawbreaker said with a smile.
“Rhinox, try and locate Dinobot or Tigatron,” Optimus ordered as he came up into the ship with his chief science officer. “We’ll also need to send somebody back out to deal with Sonar’s stasis pod.”
Rhinox nodded and transformed back into robot mode. “It shouldn’t be too hard to find them,” he said moving to the central table and tapping at the keys.
Jawbreaker noticed a very interesting language design for the Cybertronians. To him it was easily decipherable, but to Xander it was completely alien. “If we’re talking English how come their written language looks so strange?
” he asked.
Jawbreaker laughed. “Who says we’re talking English?”
Xander’s mental ghost blinked. “You mean all this time I’ve been talking an alien language?
” he blurted.
“Got it in one, kiddo,” Jawbreaker said with a grin.
“Jawbreaker,” Rattrap said in an impatient tone.
Glancing up he shot the Maximal rodent an inquisitive look.
“Come on already! I’ve got ta show ya to some quarters,” Rattrap stated tapping his foot.
“Let me just get a little more comfortable,” Jawbreaker requested. “Jawbreaker Maximize!” The transformation sequence was like second nature to Jawbreaker, but to Xander it was thoroughly alien as far as experiences went. From standing on all fours – to standing on two legs again – the process was something else again. With panels flipping, spinning, rearranging and just plain moving in ways that Xander had never felt before.
“This is going to definitely take getting used to,
” he remarked as he caught a glimpse of his reflection in the ship’s hull. His robot form was a match for his height in his old human body – it stood on two large feet that didn’t have any toes. They ended kind of like sneakers actually – almost like he was wearing metal shoes or something.
His head was an interesting design and his shoulders ended in large blades – one of his hands was ordinary with five fingers. The other was the hyena head from beast mode – its jaw having switched into a sort of claw-like appendage for grasping things.
Jawbreaker moved to follow Rattrap. “You’ll get used to it,” he assured shooting his reflection a wink as they walked down the hall.
Sonar was also walking with them – Xander took this opportunity to study what his best friend Willow looked like. She definitely had a softer looking design – with a curved chest full of russet red fur. It did not have a split down the middle which could be considered cleavage – at least not like a humans – it was obviously not one large piece though.
Her legs were quite smooth with clumps of fur sticking onto them from certain angles. Her bat mode’s wings hung off her back like a delicate cape – they kind of reminded Xander of the Gargoyles from Disney, only not as large. Her head and facial design really didn’t have much in the way of Willow-ness. But she did have large bat ears sticking up from the top of it.
Her hands were even more unusual than his ending not with ordinary fingers, but being pincer like with a large forefinger and a small pinky – the rest of the fingers were missing. There was also a very strange pattern around her waist.
“Stop checking me out,” she snapped irritably shooting Jawbreaker a glare.
“It wasn’t me, Sonar,” Jawbreaker said mischievously.
Sonar stopped walking and shot him a glare – the funny pattern around her waist revealed itself to be a second pair of arms as she grabbed Jawbreaker around the neck with her primary claws and jabbed him in the chest with her secondary ones. “I told you I’m not interested,” she said in a frosty tone.
“Hey, hey, hey here,” Rattrap interrupted. “If you’re gonna tear each other apart. Can it wait until after the grand tour?” he demanded.
Sonar bristled slightly. “Fine! But tell this perverted creature that I am not going to stand for his constant checking me out,” she stated.
Rattrap sighed. “Yeesh.” He approached Jawbreaker and inched close enough so that Sonar couldn’t hear him. “Personally I get your interest, pal, but the way to check out a femmebot ain’t to be so noticeable when yer doin’ it,” he advised.
Jawbreaker shot him a brief look with a bemused air. “Do I detect a note of experience?”
Rattrap smiled. “Oh yeah! I know this little place on Cybertron…” he trailed off when he noticed Sonar glaring at them both with her quartet of arms planted squarely on her hips. “Uh later… And don’t let me catch ya doin’ that again!” he said louder for the benefit of Sonar.
Jawbreaker had the good sense to look suitably cowed. “Right… What about Airazor?” he asked.
Rattrap shook his head. “Tigatron has dibs on her,” he replied.
“A tiger with a falcon… Interesting,” Jawbreaker remarked thoughtfully.
Xander mentally sighed. “Let’s get on with this
,” he said impatiently.
“Lead on fellow Maximal,” Jawbreaker indicated.
Rattrap nodded and led them further into the bowels of the ship where a large selection of barely noticeable doorways lined each hallway. “Welcome ta livin’ quarters central,” he stated. “This here is where we go for some alone time, but I’m warnin’ ya don’t mess with Choppaface when he’s in his room. It’ll only serve to get ya a couple of cycles in the R Chamber,” he said.
“How many quarters does this ship have?” Sonar wondered.
“Crew compliment was three hundred in her glory days,” Rattrap replied with a slight sigh. “I’ve been servin’ aboard the Axalon since before Optimus Primal took over from her original commander, I may not look it, but I’m a Maximal from the old guard. First or second Gen,” he elaborated further with a wistful smile.
Jawbreaker gave a slight laugh. “So do we call ya pops then?” he wondered.
Rattrap shot the Maximal youth a glare. “Listen here, pal! I ain’t some half-wit bygone era reminiscin’ punk like Kup or even Maximal Elder Ironhide! Ya got it?” he demanded getting in Jawbreaker’s face and poking him in the chest.
“Primus forbid,” Jawbreaker said by way of apology. “So what happened to the crew to make it just the five of you?” he wondered. “I’m assuming Tigatron and Airazor came out of the stasis pods like we did,” he added.
Rattrap shrugged. “Time’s change. The Maximal Elders decided to re-fit the Axalon a couple of solar cycles back. Most of the original crew was reassigned… Guess dey figured dey needed at least one old hat ta help keep Primal out o’ trouble.”
Sonar shook her head slightly. “So, which room is for me?” she demanded a little fed up with the history lesson.
Rattrap shook himself from his nostalgic thoughts and offered a slight smirk. “You get the room next ta Airazor’s,” he stated indicating a door on the far left. “As fer Jawbreaker here, I’m givin’ ya the quarters next ta Cheetor’s. Farthest one from me,” he added under his breath.
Nodding Jawbreaker smiled and headed towards the door Rattrap had indicated. “Great! That means I don’t have to smell you,” he said.
Rattrap jerked at the slight. “Why you!” he said angrily shaking a fist at him. “Jerk.” Rattrap stomped off leaving the newbies behind to settle.
“That wasn’t very nice,” Sonar pointed out.
Jawbreaker shrugged. “With my olfactory senses that guy has a rather… Pungent aroma and I don’t believe in keeping it to myself.” He smiled slightly and gave a little wave. “See you around beautiful.” Disappearing into the room Jawbreaker laughed at the look Sonar gave him.
“That… Male!” she cursed. “I’m going to have to teach him a lesson,” she mused to herself. “Perhaps I could rig up some sort of device to paint his fur hot pink?” Smiling to herself Sonar entered her quarters and began thinking of ways to get back at Jawbreaker.
Inferno arrived on the plains and found the stasis pod just where Megatron had said it would be. Approaching it slowly, wary of any Maximals that may be nearby he mentally went over all of the steps his queen had told him would be necessary to reprogram the pod.
“The Royalty will be pleased,” he stated. “Inferno Terrorize!”
A low growl emerged from the tall grass and with a mighty roar the traitor to the colony leapt atop Inferno’s back. “You won’t twist this protoform to your dark designs, Predacon,” Dinobot declared jaws snapping as he tried to damage Inferno.
“Bah! You are no match for me, traitor,” Inferno declared. “Burn!” he shouted grabbing Dinobot by the tail and hurling him to the side. He quickly brought his flamethrower to bear and started firing a gout of super heated flames at the Maximal.
“Dinobot Maximize!” Dinobot transformed and used his spinning shield to deflect the bulk of the assault. With his other hand he tossed his sword with precise aim – it connected and knocked Inferno’s weapon from his hand.
“RAHH!” Inferno cried out.
Dinobot shot him with his optic lasers and took a brief second to eye the stasis pod – it should have activated already.
Inferno growled. “This Protoform is the property of the Royalty!” he declared. “You shall not have it, Maximal!” Retrieving his weapon he brought it to bear once again and this time he activated his thrusters taking to the air.
Dinobot squared his shoulders in anticipation of a long fight. He was eager to do battle – the long stretch of inactivity they’d been experiencing the past few Milli-Cycles had been getting to him. A sudden burst of energy from the tall grass of the plain connected with Inferno’s thrusters before Dinobot could react. The Predacon went screaming off into the sky as his thrusters detonated. “Who did that?” Dinobot demanded slightly on edge from being cheated this opportunity for battle, but also wary of any attackers.
Stepping into view was a short robot of various blues and silvers. He resembled a clone of Rattrap. “I figured if I stuck near the pod long enough somebody from the Axalon would show up,” he said. “I don’t recognize you though,” he added.
“Who the Pit are you?” Dinobot demanded.
The short unit smiled. “Name’s Packrat,” he replied reaching out a hand to shake. “Problem with that Predacon is my pod activated as soon as it touched down. He was just a little too late for his own good,” he added with a chuckle.
Dinobot shook his head slightly – he’d long since studied the crew manifest of the Axalon. “Packrat,” he repeated with a growl. “I might have known you’d show up,” he added with a sneer.
Packrat shot Dinobot a brief look. “Do I know you?” he asked.
Shaking his head Dinobot reverted to beast mode. “Hardly, but I read the entire crew compliment of the Axalon since joining up with Optimus’ band,” he replied. “Trust a thief to show up in this war when we need good soldiers,” he said in a dismissive tone.
Packrat bristled slightly and slowly reached for his gun. “You call me a thief one more time, lizard, and there’s going to be more than words between us,” he vowed.
Dinobot snorted and indicated that the smaller unit should follow him. “Your threats don’t frighten me,” he informed. “I’ve been in the company of your cousin Rattrap for at least a Deca-Cycle. Believe me I know how to deal with vermin,” he declared approaching the stasis pod and gripping it with his taloned forearms.
“Rattrap,” Packrat repeated with a slight frown. “Terrific,” he complained with a sigh.
Dinobot smirked. “I eagerly anticipate the family reunion,” he remarked. “Now let’s get this pod back to the ship so it does not fall into Predacon hands. It might come in useful,” he ordered. “And transform back to beast mode! Unless you want to go into stasis lock.”
Packrat glared at Dinobot, but transformed into his smaller pale blue rat form. “Man… I do not look forward to this at all,” he complained. For the briefest of instances his voice almost sounded like it had an Irish brogue to it, but the incident passed as did the strange memories of a different life. One of womanizing and carousing which ended in a bloody death and then involved years of living in filth forced to feed on rats or risk death.To Be Continued